The Subtle Madness of Spring: Milan Men’s Week Spring 2015
The men’s spring 2015 shows in Milan just wrapped up yesterday but I’ve been so involved in learning the ropes at my new Rodeo Drive digs, where we are basically working in a very glamorous construction zone while a remodel of mind-blowing proportions takes place around us, that it’s taken me a little time to wrap my head around what’s strutted down the runways in the last four days. I’d been planning to touch on what ideas the guys might want to incorporate as fall wares roll into stores, but I decided instead to stay all fresh and newsworthy so here’s a breakdown of the shit that went down in Italy last weekend.
In keeping with his loose, dark feel of the fall Ermenegildo Zegna collection, Mr. Pilati started Saturday off all dark and moody with midnight blues and black in fluid, almost baggy, pants and light jackets. His success is questionable but not as polarizing as the Dolce and Gabbana show that followed. Mssrs. D. and G.’s increasingly obscure references to Sicilian history for their collection have landed them with a vibrant Spanish restaurant theme of bulls and bullfighters and palette mostly of red and black on their familiar silhouettes of cropped trousers, big t-shirts and sexy suits. I personally thought it was pretty cool. I mean, last season, they basically did Camelot so I don’t see what the big fucking deal is. Versace rounded out the day with a Cuban extravaganza of pastels, tans and white that was pretty wearable for Versace. I mean, I’d wear those Cuban-style shirts but not the leather cutout pedal pushers. Or the diaper-inspired swim trunks.
Sunday got off to a whimper with Bottega Veneta’s fancy sweatpants on guys wearing Alice bands in their hair. The designer, Thomas Maier, said something about seeing the men of New York looking so pampered and that, combined with his inspiration of male dancers, made the look a bit to femme for me. Salvatore Ferragamo was also disappointing with an overdone mash-up of layering and belting and patterns and textures. I think some of the individual pieces will be amazing and it had hints of the very cool, nerdy Prada men’s fall 2013 collection but missed the mark overall.
Just as I was about to give up on Missoni, they turned out a great collection for surfers featuring optic prints and their signature zigzag knitwear. The ease and casualness doesn’t fight with the luxuriousness of the materials that I’ve found has been an insurmountable challenge for many designers trying to fill the void of dressing for every day. It also helps if you have abs for days, by the way. The day rounded out with a baffling Prada collection that opened with matching boys’ and girls’ early 60s Western outfits and didn’t get much better from there. I don’t know about you but dark, board-stiff denim with big white topstitching doesn’t make me feel very excited for spring; it makes me feel like I’m looking at a sad old Polaroid.
Monday morning was time for a fresh start with an Emporio Armani collection that featured stripes and more stripes. The collection was at the same time familiar and fresh, like the Emporio silhouettes were somehow shaken awake and cleaned up. Gucci thankfully continued the great lines with a nautical-rocker slant that featured traditional navy/white and black/white combinations, surprisingly bold vertical stripes and a luxury in the fabrications and embroideries that somehow remained light and sporty.
At Etro there were some sharp combinations of patterns like plaids with stripes but, after the sensational explosion of unapologetic plaid for the fall collection, I wanted more than big boxy jackets and tracksuit shorts so short that your junk will make a guaranteed appearance. The end of the show with the baggy floral-upon-floral looks might have been the answer but it was a big mess. On the other hand, I think Fendi might be embracing the cult phenomenon of “normcore” this season, in which, in seeming opposition to the hipster culture, one aims to look as average and normal as possible and not stand out in any way. I’m going to say that’s probably not going to fly in the fashion world, even if your “distressed denim” is actually the most expensive bonded leather.
On the final day, DSquared2 showed a Warhol-inspired collection that seemed to borrow a lot from the 1980s neon and 1990s hip-hop worlds, as well. Far less theatrical than their shows of the last few seasons, there were some solid looks but they were pretty much overshadowed by the one Adonis in the tiny pink swimsuit. And, though there were no swimsuits at the Giorgio Armani show that closed out Milan, the éminence gris, who is about to turn 80, began his show with the soft tailoring and natural shoulders that define the Armani man, but then threw in some very contemporary skinny large-scale plaid pieces and other looks that would surprise.
Finally, if there is one thing that is for sure next spring, it’s that sandals will be everywhere. They were shown with shorts, with pants and with full-on suits. I don’t remember seeing them with eveningwear but that’s probably because I instinctively looked away. The pedicures are coming, guys, so get ready.